US DOT Enables Carmakers To Bypass Safety Rules, Weakens the Public’s Ability to Hold Them Accountable

Despite compelling public interest reasons not to do so, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a misguided decision that will short-circuit the public’s ability to scrutinize automakers’ requests to be exempt from federal safety standards, including when companies are trying to rush unproven self-driving cars to market. Under a change formalized on April 7, 2020, NHTSA will no longer require companies seeking these exemptions to provide timely, complete information on their requests prior to posting them for public comment.